Former LUSU President convicted of terror charges after blocking deportation flight
The verdict has been called a ‘crushing blow for human rights in the UK’
Former President of Lancaster University's Students' Union, Laura Clayson has been convicted of terror charges after endangering the safety of Stansted Airport.
Clayson, who was LUSU President in 2014, alongside 14 other members of the group End Deportations, attempted to stop a deportation flight containing immigrants from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in March last year.
The group, known as the "Stansted 15", cut through the airport's fence, attached themselves to various parts of the Boeing 767 and obstructed pipes with their arms and foam in order to prevent the flight from taking place.
All 15 defendants submitted a not guilty plea as they claimed they were trying to prevent the abuse of human rights in the face of a "racist" and "brutal" operation. The judge, however, indicated that the protesters' presence at the airport could be seen as a risk and therefore a crime.
As a result of the incident from March 2017, the group could face anything from a non-custodial sentence to life in prison as a result of the conviction. They will be sentenced at a later date.
In a statement, the defendants said: "We are guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm. The real crime is the government’s cowardly, inhumane and barely legal deportation flights and the unprecedented use of terror law to crack down on peaceful protest."